Building an effective team

Running a dental practice is hard, there is the compliance to adhere to, clinical skills to keep updated, managing the finances and marketing, ensuring that your patients are happy and well looked after, as well as also needing to ensure that your team is working effectively together! So how do you achieve this?

Step 1 – Establish leadership

If your employees trust your judgement they will work effectively even when you’re not there. Leadership is very different to management, you can read our previous blog post about this here - how to become a leader and not just a manager.

With effective leadership the whole team knows what the overall purpose of the business is and what part they play in this – they will feel a personal responsibility to embody the values and ethos of the practice.


When you are a good leader you inspire positivity and confidence to the point that the team behave just as well when you’re not even there!

Step 2 - Establish relationships with each of your employees


Your employees are all individuals and deserve to be treated as such. Just a small amount of effort on your part to engage with each member of your team on a personal level will pay dividends – there will be mutual respect, understanding and most importantly, trust.

Step 3 - Build relationships between your employees


Instigate and foster positive relationships between all members at your practice. An effective team is one which supports each other with an obvious bond between them.

Down time is important to enable this to happen – the ‘chat’ that happens around your staff doing their job is vital for their morale and thus the overall success of the practice – now of course there is a healthy balance to be struck between being really strict and super relaxed, enabling your staff to get away with doing very little work.

Keep a close eye on any tensions between staff members too as patients can pick up on any negative energy that may be wafting through the practice!

Step 4 - Foster teamwork


Even within a small dental practice it is can be very easy to let the ‘them and us’ mentality take hold; for example dentists versus reception team. Good practice leadership will ensure a true team mentality whereby everyone works together, towards the same goal.

Having regular team meetings and keeping the lines of communication open between the different roles and needs of staff members will ensure the team grows and evolves together in a collaborative way.

Another previous blog that discusses this further is how to encourage a can do attitude.

Step 5 - Set ground rules for the team


There needs to be clear boundaries in terms of what is/isn’t acceptable from team members at your practice and these ‘rules’ need to be communicated to all members. Apart from the contractual items within your staff handbook, it can be the ‘little things’ that embody the culture of the practice and lack of adherence is what can unsettle the status quo.

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